Anne Arundel County DUI Drug Lawyer
There are two separate drug-related impairment charges in Maryland. They are under Transportation Article 21-902, the same article that has the DUI statutes. There is a 21-902 (c) offense which is usually charged for impairment by prescription drugs and then there’s a 21-902 (d) offense which is when an individual is impaired by a controlled dangerous substance, usually some kind of illegal narcotic. If you are charged with either of these offense you are facing serious penalties ranging from a fine to serious jail time, making it important that you consult with an Anne Arundel DUI lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.
How Law Enforcement Charge DUI Drug Cases
With drug related DUI cases in there are two kinds of ways that an Anne Arundel police officer will decide to charge in that case. One is when an individual refuses to submit a breath sample. That is a pretty weak theory of a DUI drug case. If there is no evidence of any kind of drug in the vehicle, no admission or discussion of drug use by the suspect then the officer will occasionally still write the DUI drug case under the theory that they didn’t know if you were driving badly because you were drunk or if you were high.
The other case is where the officer actually has the reason to believe that there was actually impairment caused by drugs. That can be in the form of prescription medication found in the vehicle or an admission by the suspect. If somebody says that they just took drugs, then the officer will frequently charge an Anne Arundel DUI drug case and may be able to prove it.
Additionally an officer may ask an individual who is arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs to submit to a DRE, a Drug Recognition Evaluator examination and in that case another officer who is trained in making these types of observations will examine the suspect by asking questions, they will take measurement of their temperature, and their pulse and try to make the determination whether they are under the influence of a narcotic.
Penalties for Drug DUIs in Anne Arundel County
The penalties for a 21-902 (c) DUID offense for prescription drugs, mirror the penalties for impaired driving. The penalties for that are lower than for a controlled dangerous substance, i.e. illegal drugs, but there is still a potential penalty for driving while impaired by prescription medication. A first offense maximum penalty is 60 days and a $500 fine. The penalties for the 21-902 (d) offense, the controlled dangerous substance offense, mirror the penalties for DUI, the more serious drunk driving charge, first offense maximum penalty is 1 year of incarceration and a $1,000 fine.
As long as it causes impairment, it would be charged as a 21-902 (c) offense. Whether it’s a prescribed medication or whether it’s an over-the-counter medication is irrelevant. The issue is really what type of impairment it caused.
Proving Drug Impairment in Anne Arundel County
There are usually two steps in testing for the presence of drugs. One is an interview with a drug recognition evaluator or DRE. That individual will ask a series of questions, will take some physiological measurements, pulses, temperatures, looking for flaccidity of muscle tone, those types of things. Then if they feel that they have got enough probable cause to believe that there is impairment, then they can ask for a blood draw. Then the blood draw will be tested to determine the presence of various drugs. There’s a two-stage process. First, there’s a DRE evaluation and then there’s the chemical test.
They can use driving behavior, any kind of conversations or interactions that the individual had with law enforcement prior to the DRE evaluation. The thing that first drew the officer’s attention to that individual, the same type of evidence that they would use for a DUI alcohol case can also apply in an Anne Arundel DUI drug case.
Most of the interviews that the officers conduct, specifically the drug recognition evaluator interview, are voluntary. An individual suffers no penalty if they refuse to do that interview. Individuals frequently are not aware of that and voluntarily provide the state with a great deal of evidence to be used against them.
Anne Arundel DUID Lawyers Can Help
There lots of things that are involved in a DUI drug case. There’s scientific evidence. There are legal challenges to admissibility of certain types of evidence that competent Anne Arundel DUI drug lawyers see a lot. The defense for one of these kinds of cases can be extremely complicated and extremely time consuming. Giving your lawyer more time to analyze the evidence prior to your court date is always a good idea. Additionally, there may be penalties involved with the individual’s driver’s license based on a refusal to do a chemical test of blood and the same type of time windows run for those penalties as due for a DUI case for license suspension. It’s extremely important to talk to a lawyer quickly when you’re charged with DUI drug.
Involuntary Intoxication as a Defense
Involuntary intoxication is a defense. If somebody slips a narcotic into your drink that would be a valid defense for a DUI drug charge in Anne Arundel County. Voluntary intoxication on the other hand is not a defense, meaning if you take a drug and didn’t realize that it was going to affect you that would not be a defense.